DOJ appeals to Congress for new emergency powers amid pandemic

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked Congress for a slew of new emergency powers, according to documents obtained and reviewed by Politico.

The requests come as the federal government tries to combat the coronavirus pandemic which has sickened over 24,000 people nationwide in the U.S. and claimed more than 280 lives, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Documents obtained by the publication revealed several different proposals.

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One of the proposed changes would give the attorney general the power to ask top district judges to stop court proceedings "whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.”

These top judges would also gain the power to the stop court proceedings during a national emergency.

In addition, the DOJ has asked for the ability to ask chief judges to permanently detain an individual without trial during emergencies. 

Another proposal would reportedly waive the statute of limitations for criminal investigations as well as civil trials during an emergency and could last up to "one year following the end of the national emergency."

Last week, President TrumpDonald John TrumpWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Coronavirus hits defense contractor jobs Wake up America, your country doesn't value your life MORE declared the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. a national health emergency.

The Hill has reached out to the DOJ for comment.